Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Merry Christmas from the Church

Well Christmas is over for another year, and what did we learn from it? We learnt that the attitude of the  Church towards us, and particularly the Catholic Church, would continue to be one of closed minded bigotry even at this time of year. The message came over loud and clear. “Peace and goodwill to all men – except the gay ones.” The barrage of hatred and abuse started with the Pope’s annual Christmas address to the Vatican, in which he stated that people were manipulating their sexual orientation to manipulate God-given nature, and it continued with the Bishop of Westminster’s Christmas sermon, in which he called the Government’s equal marriage plan an Orwellian shambles.

Over the last few months we have been compared to Nazi fascists, accused of undermining the heterosexual fundamentals of society, and, most recently compared to communists, the idea of marriage equality apparently stemming from” the egalitarian utopia that did so much damage during the 20th century … deceiving humanity as socialism did in the past.” (Lucetta Scaraffia in L’Osservatorio Romano).

The religious bigots believe they are winning, but, so far, fortunately, they are not. Spain’s courts recently threw out an attempt by conservatives to overturn the country’s seven year- long marriage equality law, more and more US states are introducing marriage equality, and, over here, David Cameron has vowed to make marriage equality law before the end of the year.

 What does bother me though is the way that the media and the press treat all their ridiculous pronouncements with such reverence, the pervading impression being that a belief in God is an indication of someone’s veracity and moral character. My attitude is completely different. How on earth can you take seriously the views of someone who believes that Christ was the result of a union between a virgin and a mythical God, for whom there is no scientific evidence? Now I am prepared to believe that Christ existed. I am also prepared to believe that he was an extraordinary man, well ahead of his time, with some very interesting ideas (too bad the Church tends to ignore most of them), but believing he was the son of God is too much of a stretch for my imagination. It’s a bit like believing in Peter Pan and Neverland. It’s a nice idea, but we know it’s just a good story.

Bypassing mass murderers, suicide bombers, war mongers and all sorts of evils in society, the Church has chosen to make us the enemy. I am not aware of many gay people who go out straight bashing on a Friday night, who go around bombing innocent individuals in the name of their cause, who hound and bully young straight teenagers until they find no other way out other than to commit suicide, but somehow we have become the root of all evil in society. The Church has blood on its hands, but it doesn’t care because it is more concerned about losing its power. Paradoxically it doesn’t seem to realise that, in the West at least, its draconian stance is losing them followers as more and more people become disillusioned with them. Apparently a Dutch website, which gives information about how to de-register as a Catholic received around 10,000 hits per day over the Christmas period. Normally it receives only 10. Clearly things aren’t working for them here in the more enlightened and educated West. One has to wonder why they see us a such a threat, and, the only conclusion I can come to is their preoccupation with sex. The Church, as Stephen Fry once put it, is obsessed with sex, and they can’t cope with a generation that increasingly sees sex more as a channel for pleasure than procreation. This, presumably, is the reasoning behind the bizarre decision taken by the Church of England recently, to allow gay clergy to become Bishops, as long as they affirm that they are not having sex. What are they going to do? Install CCTV in their bedrooms? And what about straight couples who can’t, or don’t want to, have children? Should they be forbidden from having sex too? Their thinking on this seems very muddled to me.
Unfortunately the gradual erosion of the power of the Church in the West, means that they are working hard to increase their stranglehold in less developed countries, particularly in the African continent, where people are less well educated, and more prone to believe the mumbo jumbo they come out with, a direct of result of which is the notorious Ugandan Kill the Gays bill. Only recently the Pope was pictured blessing Rebecca Kadanga, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parlaiment, who vowed to pass the bill as a “Christmas gift”.

Where will it all end I wonder? I was certainly very angry over Christmas, angry that the press gave the Church such a platform, angry at the incredibly biased reporting by the BBC, which made the story of the Bishop of Westminster’s Christmas Day attack their main news item without including one dissenting voice, just plain angry and I’ve had just about as much as I can stomach. I just wanted to scream at the TV.  “Don’t you get it? We don’t care. We don’t actually care what a bunch of crazy bible bashers think. Just go away and leave us alone. It actually has nothing to do with you.” The Bishop of Westminster, and hundreds of other Catholic ministers around the country, enjoined their congregations to bombard the government with letters protesting their plans to legalise gay marriage. I just hope that members of parliament realise that for every letter they get from “disgusted of Wells”, there are hundreds of other people, a lot of them straight, who won’t write because they don’t really care! Remember only about 2% of the population go to church regularly on a Sunday. They just happen to be a very vocal 2%.

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